Harness the Power of Positivity
Approximately 1 in 5 people in Australia experience symptoms of mental illness, such a depression, throughout their lives. It’s up to us as parents to shape our children’s mindset and to help them see the positive moments in each day.
I watched this TED Talk by Shawn Achor over a decade ago and it completely changed the way I functioned in my corporate life so when the time was right, I introduced the same concept into my family life.
We’ve had to adapt it with Mia but we are working toward the goal of her understanding what it means to be grateful and to recognise positive things when they happen.
Some parents with school-age kids might find that introducing this around the dinner table works well but for Mia, at age 3.5, it was a great thing to talk about after reading books and right before bed.
It started out as me asking her to list her 5 favourite things from the day. For the first 2 weeks, I would remind her what she did that day to work on her memory recall. By week 3, her answers were heart-melting! She would tell me that she loved the kind lady who let her pet her puppy in the street or that she enjoyed making a new friend at the park.
Mia is now nearly 5 years old and we start the conversation with me asking her who she thanked that day. Since this is the newest addition to the positivity series, I usually help her during the day at that moment by pointing out that she thanked her dad for dinner or that she thanked her teachers for being kind to her. This helps her to remember when I ask her at night.
After we go through who she thanked, we then go through what she’s grateful for – more heart-melting moments! Tonight, she was grateful for God, her brother who loves her and her big bed.
We always finish on her 5 favourite things and I love listening to her talk about all the small things that went well for her. Since she knows I will ask her at night, her brain has learned to recognise the good things when they are happening, save them and then she’s able to recall the memory every evening.
It is a beautiful exercise for you to do with your children and even your partner. It takes 21 days to form a habit so set reminders if you need to the first few weeks. Every night when I snuggle into my sweet girl and she asks me about my 5 favourite parts of the day, I always reply “this moment, right now, is one of my favourites”.